Chastity is a much different topic in today's world than in those of our ancestors. Back when our grandparents or great-grandparents were dating, showing a little too much shoulder or ankle was considered scandalous, let alone flaunting all that on TV or on stage. It was much more common in those days to save sexual relations for after marriage. This practice of abstinence has gone out of style these days, making it much harder for those who do want to save themselves until after marriage to hold to their standards.
But if chastity until marriage is your goal, you are not pursuing a lost cause. Contrary to how television portrays intimate relationships, it's not inevitable that you fall into bed with your loved one the moment you have some time alone. Here are some tips for keeping in control of your body and your relationships.
1. Make a commitment to each other
Having a vague idea that you'd like to wait to have sex until after marriage won't be helpful when the temptation arises. You must voice that commitment, talk about it with your significant other, and see if their goal is the same. If it isn't, you'll have a much harder time keeping your side of the bargain.
2. Set boundaries
When you realize which direction your relationship is going, take time to talk with each other about how much physical intimacy you're comfortable with. Each couple might have different ideas about how much kissing, cuddling, etc. they'd like to do prior to marriage.
3. Avoid alone time
When you're in a close relationship, it seems like all you want is a little alone time. But solitude is the enemy to chastity. When no one is watching is the exact moment you're most likely to slip up. So be intentional about where and how you spend your time together.
4. Get support from friends and family
Let your other loved ones know what your goal is and invite them to help you live up to it. Instead of making jokes or egging the two of you on, friends and family members can have a significant role in helping you remember your commitment.
5. Be open with someone
Beyond having support from those around you, it might also help to choose a close friend or sibling and ask them to check up on you. Invite them to question you about your dates and how you spend your time with your significant other and commit to be open with them.
6. Avoid talking in depth about intimacy
Though it's important to be completely comfortable with your significant other and be open with them on all topics of conversation, physical intimacy is one topic that you can save until after marriage. Of course, you can find out how each of you feel on the subject and what your expectations are, but avoid dwelling on the topic. Otherwise, just talking about it might not be enough.
7. Stay out of the bedroom
If you're really serious about abstinence, then any time spent in bedrooms together tends to be a bad idea. Standing near a bed can lead to sitting on it, which leads to lying on it, and it's all downhill from there.
8. Dress modestly
This advice is mainly for women: How you dress has a big impact on the boys around you. Men are very visual and tight fitting, low cut, or short clothing can be a bad idea if you have chastity in mind. Make it easier on both of you by wearing modest clothing (i.e. no cleavage, loose-fitting shirts and pants, longer shorts and skirts).
9. Remind each other of your goals
It helps to realign yourselves sometimes with your goals, especially when you begin to lose sight of why you made them in the first place. Speak frequently of why chastity is important to you, perhaps speaking with others who have made the same commitment, so you can hear why they find it so important as well.
10. Find other ways to show your love
Intimacy is only one facet of a loving relationship and should not be the main basis of one. When remaining chaste seems difficult, think of other fun activities you can do together that will bring you closer together in other ways. Some examples might include playing sports, spending time in the outdoors, going to a gym, inviting friends to a picnic, going bowling, or playing board games with the family.
Chastity before marriage isn't old-fashioned, as modern media likes to portray it. It's an important commitment between two responsible individuals who realize that intimacy shouldn't be treated lightly. And if two individuals are careful and committed, they can enjoy a wonderful relationship based on similar interests and shared respect for one another not only until marriage, but for their whole lives afterwards.